MLS & Associations

Websites will help small Realtor associations step up their game

Associations must meet NAR core standards by June 30 or risk expulsion

Two companies are teaming up to develop websites that will help Realtor associations be more transparent to their members and meet a crucial deadline.

Last May, the National Association of Realtors adopted stricter “core standards” for their nearly 1,400 local associations, expanding the list of programs and services that even the smallest associations must provide to members. All associations must fulfill the requirements by June 30, 2015 — a little over three months from now — or risk expulsion from NAR.

The standards require that each association have an interactive website where they post access to professional standards and arbitration filing processes and link to the websites of their state association and the national association in order to promote member programs, products and services.

In addition, each association must use an email or other Internet-based means for member communication.

According to research from Focus Forward Consulting, 30 percent of local Realtor associations have fewer than 100 members; more than 70 percent have fewer than 500 members. Many of these tiny associations do not have websites.

So, real estate strategic marketing consulting firm August Partners and real estate website provider Placester have teamed up to develop customized, mobile-responsive, easy-to-use websites that fulfill these requirements for small- and medium-sized associations.

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“Consumers aren’t the only ones demanding remarkable experiences on the Web — so are the agents and brokers that serve the industry. By helping associations deliver better technology, everybody wins,” said Seth Price, Placester’s vice president of sales and marketing, in a statement.

Many small Realtor associations don't have websites."

August Partners is working on a content library that associations can customize and use as building blocks to meet NAR’s standards, Tracy Weir, the company’s managing partner, told Inman.

The library will also make it easier for associations without in-house marketing experts to keep populating a new site with up-to-date, relevant content, Weir said.

“Our library will contain suggested content for things like policies, ethics, fair housing and education, as well as a selection of ideas to help associations communicate with their members,” she said.

The sites will be “completely responsive and fast” and “built based on a selection of customizable templates that Placester is known for,” she added.

The sites will integrate with MailChimp and other email services so that associations can easily manage email subscribers and comply with privacy rules, Weir said. The sites will also link to an association’s management system, if they have one.

“We’re also interested in working with dashboards like Clareity’s to ensure more security,” Weir said.

August Partners will be previewing its content library to selected executives at NAR’s Associate Executive Institute (AEI) this weekend to ensure the right cross section of content and get more feedback on the offering in general, she said.

The company will also be on the hunt for beta customers. It has not yet settled on pricing.

“But the goal is to offer a product that is extraordinarily cost-effective, so that even the smallest associations can get online quickly and effectively,” Weir said.

“While this program won’t be a fit for larger associations, from what we hear it should be a boon for associations with limited budgets and staff.”

In November, Placester announced a partnership with NAR to offer nearly every Realtor a personal website equipped with a listing search tool for just $5 a month.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.